The Blount Lab was established in 2020 and is part of the Nottingham Engineering Biology Labs, the Biodiscovery Institute, the Green Chemicals Beacon and the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham.

Our research focuses on the application of synthetic genome strains and techniques, both for sustainable biotechnology and to test how genome content and structure determines the behaviour of cells.

Areas of particular interest include:

The use of the SCRaMbLE recombination system that has been engineered into synthetic yeast genome strains to generate highly genomically diverse populations of cells. These populations can be sampled through selection and screening processes for enrichment of properties of interest for biotechnological applications. This includes improved use of waste carbon sources, improved production of high value chemicals, and improved tolerance to inhibitory conditions encountered in bioreactors.

The construction of synthetic yeast chromosomes housing essential genes and subsequent reduction of non-essential genes. By determining how readily genes are lost under various growth conditions, the importance of each gene to cell fitness under those conditions can be probed. This information could lead to the design of streamlined genomes suited to particular tasks.

The expansion of synthetic genomics to industrial non-model microbes.